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Snap judgment: Bears RB Ryan Nall gets his shot in David Montgomery’s absence

The Chicago Sun-Times’ weekly look at the Bears’ snap counts covers a change at running back, Robert Quinn’s uptick in playing time but not production and other areas.

Ryan Nall caught four passes for 35 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown Sunday.
Ryan Nall caught four passes for 35 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown Sunday.
Wade Payne/AP

There wasn’t much good offensively for the Bears in their 24-17 loss to the Titans on Sunday, and their situation got worse with running back David Montgomery suffering a concussion.

That leaves the Bears with Cordarrelle Patterson, Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce as their only running backs. And Nall, who had never played more than seven snaps in a game, made the most of that opportunity.

Nall played a career-high 10 snaps, and while he didn’t get any carries, he caught all four passes thrown his way and finished with 35 yards. He also scored his first NFL touchdown.

The Bears probably won’t know until late in the week whether they’ll have Montgomery against the Vikings on Monday, but if they don’t, it might be Nall playing ahead of Patterson.

Here are more notes on how the Bears split up playing time in the Titans game:

Kmet tracker

It’s good to see coach Matt Nagy following through on his commitment to play second-round pick Cole Kmet more. Rookie tight ends usually need time, but the Bears are desperate for playmakers, and Kmet has potential.

He played a season-high 47% of the snaps. That said, Nick Foles didn’t throw the ball his way.

It’s still a positive sign for the Bears that Kmet is ready for that large of a role. His surge has meant diminished opportunity for veteran Demetrius Harris, who played just 8% of the snaps. It was his second game in a row under 10%.

Empty snaps for Quinn

Everyone wants outside linebacker Robert Quinn to play more, but he has to do something with those snaps for them to matter.

He was in on a season-high 75% of the defensive snaps, which was quite a surprise after averaging 46% his first seven games, but had no sacks or quarterback hits.

“We’re working on trying to get his reps in the right spot,” outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino said Monday. “We’ve got a number that we’re trying to hit. I’ve been a little bit below that number through the first eight weeks. We were able to drive that number up a little bit yesterday.

“I’m trying to give him more of an opportunity to get into a rhythm. Again, as we go back and look at it, the most important thing is that we get him doing what he does best most often. That’s the process that we’re in.”

Quinn had a strip sack on his first snap of the season, but none since. He has drawn some attention away from Khalil Mack, however, and Mack has 6.5 sacks.

Receiver allocation

The Bears don’t have a clear No. 2 receiving option after Allen Robinson. Fifth-round pick Darnell Mooney appears to be emerging, but he’s still a rookie. While Robinson caught seven passes for 81 yards Sunday, no one else cracked 60.

Here’s how the snaps were distributed:

Robinson, 95%
Mooney, 87%
Anthony Miller, 69%
Riley Ridley, 21%

Ridley, in his season debut, caught two passes for 23 yards including an 18-yard catch on third-and-16 in the third quarter. He will likely continue to play a decent-sized role Monday with Javon Wims suspended.

D-line update

Without defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris, who is likely headed to injured reserve, the Bears need someone to step up alongside Akiem Hicks (91% of the snaps Sunday) and Bilal Nichols (67%).

In addition to playing Quinn more, the Bears split the rest of the d-line snaps this way:

Brent Urban, 42%
Daniel McCullers, 36%
Mario Edwards, 24%

That trio was pretty solid. That’s a season high for Urban, who had three tackles and a quarterback hit. McCullers, who came off the practice squad for that game, had four tackles. Edwards had his second sack of the season.

Keeping it 100

Five defensive players played the entire game (55 snaps): cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson, safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson and linebacker Roquan Smith.

Gipson has missed one snap all season, and Smith has missed two.